Referees – just do your job!

I live in the Emerald Isle or the Republic of Ireland as we are formally known.

With the advent of satellite it’s great that we are able to access sport from other countries around the world.

I’ve spent a long time both on the field of play with the whistle, and off the field of play as an administrator and coach and mentor to up-and-coming referees up to, and including, World cup level.

It’s interesting to see how other referees perform (and I am specifically talking about refereeing).

The thing that strikes me most is the apparent inability or unwillingness of some match officials to do their job according to the Laws of the Game.

I’ve witnessed match officials get themselves into a terrible mess with players from all walks of life simply because they deviated from the “bible” of soccer.

As a psychologist I have tried to reason this out and have come to the conclusion that some of these guys (referees) are just not suitable for the job at hand.

  1. Perhaps it’s our fault as administrators.
  2. Perhaps it’s the fault of the recruitment officers who pick the wrong people for the job.
  3. Perhaps it’s the fault of the referees themselves for believing that they are capable of going on a field and arbitrating between two teams of players loaded to the gills with testosterone and adrenalin.

One particular game came to my attention which happened this last week in which three players had been sent off (red card) and a fourth should have followed.

This is the now famous/infamous “knee” incident.

The player involved was No. 7 Johnson of Seattle who deliberately, and in my opinion, consciously first of all pushed an opponent in the back, and then proceeded to knee the opponent in the face (see the video below).

Why didn’t the referee see it?

We can have lots of conspiracy theories here. Perhaps he did and didn’t want to take any stronger action as he had already given out three red cards.

I certainly hope that this is not the case. We as referees punish what we see according to the LOTG without fear or favour to any one team or player.

The cynics will have a field day in saying that the referee froze and was unwilling to have any more controversy in the game seeing at it was in time added on at the end of the game.

I certainly hope that this was not the case.

Referees don’t make that call. If it’s necessary for 6 red cards to be dished out then so be it.

As I said in a previous blog – we don’t make the laws, we simply apply them.

Happy Whistling.

About the author: Dr Errol Sweeney (PhD) BBA Dip.PM, aka “The Hanging Judge,” is a former L.o.I and SA Premier League Referee, World Cup Referee & Assistant Referee Coach & Mentor. He coached/mentored a referee to 2 World Cups, Olympic Games, Confederations Cup, 2 U/17 FIFA World Cups and 4 African Nations Cups. He also writes on his own blog at SuperSport.

Categories: MLS

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